Division 2 Round 1 Report: Raiders and Rangers set the early pace
What a round it was to kick off the 2018 season. From come-from-behind victories and shock losses, big bag goal kickers and a couple of flag favourites making their mark, there is much to look forward to in the year ahead.
Emmaus St Leos vs MHSOB:
Both entering 2018 as Division 2 veterans and equal finals favourites, Melbourne High came from behind in the first quarter to defeat St Leos by a comfortable 31 points at Bennettswood Sports Ground. With a three goal to nothing first quarter, the Animals failed to puta greater score on the board despite dominating. The Unicorns fought back in the second quarter kicking seven to St Leos four. The second half then saw the Unicorns settle in, their goals coming from Cam Neville and Kane Smith, who both kicked four. The Unicorns best were Jye Sandiford and Gerry Arangio and had a spread of eight goal kickers. For the Animals Nathan Bird and Newbegin Baxter flew the flag, while Tom Birkett (4) and Chris Beluszar (3) did the work in front of goal.
Yarra Old Grammarians vs Power House:
The 2017 Division 3 runners up were keen to prove themselves but fell short as a dominant Yarra Old Grammarians took the four points at their home fort at Doncaster Reserve. The Bushrangers kicked away late in the first, kicking eight to Power House’s four. By halftime, the Rangers were leading by 7 goals. The high scoring encounter saw the Rangers Liam Marshall kick five and Power House’s Luke Stubbs kick seven. Matt Young was BOG for Yarra and was supported by Rory Harbeck (5) and Johnathon Trend. Adam Collett (3) was solid through the middle with the help of Euan Edwards for the House.
Eltham Collegians vs Whitefriars:
The Friars boys showed who’s boss when they demolished the Turtles away from home by 132 points. Domination ensued from the first minute and continued throughout the game led by Michael Nitas (6), Lewis Neat (4) and Sam Kiseker off half-back. A deflated Eltham, had Paul Vidinopoulos and Troy Jinnette fighting hard but will look to redeem themselves next week, when they take on St Johns away in a must-win contest.
Bulleen Templestowe vs Old Paradians:
Old Paradians opened their 2018 season in style, crushing Bulleen Templestowe by 61 points at Ted Ajani Reserve. The game was won in the third quarter when the Raiders blew their three-goal lead out to an eight-goal lead, kicking seven goals to the Bullants two. Both teams kicked only one goal each in the final term, missing a handful of opportunities. Adam Nolan was best on ground for Raiders and was helped by Matt Luciani (4) and James Kandilakis (3). A deflated Bulleen Templestowe, who played to honour the late Neil Smythe (life member and club legend), relied on Dean Di Staso and Anthony Lucisano, who kicked 2 and 3 respectively.
St Johns vs UHS-VU:
2017 Division 3 premiers UHS-VU surprised ex-Division 1 team St Johns when they defeated the Jocs by 3 points. In a tight battle at Thomas Carroll Reserve, the Jocs lead at every break, but failed to hold on, as the Vultures came from behind to secure their first victory in Division 2 in over nine years. Led by superstar Zanin Medallist Brandon Jackson, with three goals and ably supported by James Dimattina (2) and Gerard Hawkins, UHS-VU showed they are capable of stepping up and fitting in to a higher division. The Jocs Anthony Brannan booted three while Laurence Kazinoti and Keith Ash never gave up for the losing side.
Round 2 Preview:
The Bushrangers flexed their muscles last week with 12 goal kickers and should prevail over surprise round 1 winners Uni. The Vultures need to keep tabs on Liam Marshall and Matt Young. The Vultures James Healy and Nick Devereux will relish the big Brens Oval, but Yarra Old Grammarians should be too strong.
Last year’s first semi-final between the Unicorns and the Raiders was the game of the finals series, with Paradians causing a major upset. Both sides have started the season strongly. Melbourne High are looking for redemption, but the Raiders, led by Boundy and the Kandilakis brothers should prevail.
Both coming off unfortunate losses last week, Power House and Emmaus St Leos are eager to make a statement in Division 2 this coming round. Despite their losses, both sides proved they are capable of converting up forward. This game will be decided by which defence comes out on top and whether Stubbs (Power House) or Birkett (St Leos) can continue their round 1 form up front.
A shock loss for St Johns and disappointment for Eltham Collegians makes this an interesting round 2 encounter. Brannan, who almost dragged the Jocs over the line last week will be a main target for St Johns. However, the Jocs should watch out for the likes of Paul Vidinopoulos and Andrew Hargrave in front of goal.
A big game is ahead for Whitefriars with a physical battle against Bulleen Templestowe looming. The evenly matched sides will rely on their forwards Micheal Nitas (Whitefriars) and Dean Di Staso (Bulleen) to dominate in front of goal. Bulleen will be on the rebound but the Friars boys proved their worth last week and should do so again.
TIPS FOR ROUND 2:
UHS-VU vs Yarra Old Grammarians
MHSOB vs Old Paradians
Power House vs Emmaus St Leos
St Johns vs Eltham Collegians
Whitefriars vs Bulleen Templestowe